With the 89th Oscars just around the corner, we’ve been doing a little research into how the whole voting process actually works and it’s not as simple as we first thought!

The Oscars voting system

Most winners on Oscar night will thank ‘the academy’ in their acceptance speech. But who decided they should be up on that stage? Which films are more likely to be picked? And why did it take so long for Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar?


It’s time to take a look at the ins and outs of the Oscar voting process:

How are films nominated for awards?

Well, there’s a set of guidelines all movies must adhere to, to be in with a chance of getting nominated. As per the rules for the 89th Oscars requirements:

1. Only feature-length (over 40 minutes) narrative live-action, animation, or documentaries are considered for these categories.

2. It has to have been shown for paying customers in a movie theatre in Los Angeles County and run in that theatre for 7 days.

3. It has to have premiered in the previous calendar year.


How does the voting process work?

If your movie ticks all of the aforementioned requirements and you’ve filled in a ‘official screen credits form,’ the next step is to send it to the Academy and wait to hear if your movie is accepted for consideration.

If it’s a yes, the Academy will then include it on the “Reminder List of Eligible Releases” which it sends out to all voting members to kick start the nomination process. For the upcoming Academy Awards, there’s a total of 336 films fighting for a nomination in the 24 categories. No Leo this year though, he’s busy saving the world.

The actual voting process has two stages:

1. On the first ballot, academy members go through that hefty list of all eligible movies and get to vote for their favourites within their own ‘branch’. So basically, this means editors get to vote for the best editing, cinematographers for the best cinematography etc etc. On your ballot you can list your top 5 for the year. Oh and everyone- no matter which branch they belong to – gets to vote for best picture.

The tallies from these votes are then complied by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, who translate the academy members first ballot votes into the 5 official nominees in each category and up to 10 for best picture. After these official nominees are publicly announced, Academy voters get their second ballot.

2. In the second ballot, branch members choose from all the official nominees, in ALL of the categories, and whichever gets the most votes in each category will be sealed up in that special little envelope and opened on Oscar night!


So there you have a rough guide for how voters vote in the Academy Awards, are you looking forward to the Oscars this year? Let us know who you want to win! @tweetjanes

If you need a reminder for all those people who have been nominated for an award this year, check it out here!

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